Ripon’s St Wilfrid’s Catholic Church has received an initial £47,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a major restoration project and now has up to two years to submit proposals for a major award.
The project aims to preserve the heritage of the Victorian Church, which has outstanding internal features and art, and make it available to the wider public.
Mgr Philip Holroyd, Parish Priest, said: “We are delighted and immensely grateful that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.
“The restoration will enable us to look after this lovely Church and share its treasures with the wider community.
“It is great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for the people of Ripon for the future.”
Designed in the early Lombard style by Catholic architects Joseph Aloysius Hansom and Edward Welby Pugin, St Wilfrid’s was completed in 1862.
It contains many features including Pugin-designed carved stone altars and reredos, mosaic roundels from the studio of Venetian Antonio Salviati, and stained glass windows of high quality.
The project aims to carry out essential conservation work. Redesign of the narthex and entrance will ensure accessibility to all.
New interpretative materials will be developed with improved signage and the installation of a phone app. An educational programme is also planned to give learning opportunities for schools, the local community and visitors to Ripon. A volunteer training programme will be extended with two part-time posts created.
Church leaders hope that by working with other partners in the city, a restored St Wilfrid’s aims will add significantly to the civic life of the city and bring benefits to tourism and the local economy.
St Wilfrid’s Church in Ripon is part of the Diocese of Leeds and serves the pastoral needs of the Catholic community in the city and in surrounding towns and villages. The weekly attendance at services is between 180 and 200 people. The Catholic population of the area is well over 1000 people.
Fiona Spears, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber said: “There is a place of worship in almost every ward, village and town across the Yorkshire and Humber region, providing very visual connection with our past.
“This award to St Wilfrid’s, Ripon, will ensure essential repairs are carried out, help share its beautiful internal features and art with the people of Ripon, and ensure a sustainable future for this fine building.”
Development funding of £47,000 will help St Wilfrid’s progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.